1.From June to August, I had the opportunity to intern with the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, the oldest black caucus in the country. I was able to have two articles published in the Minority Business Enterprise Magazine and had the opportunity to learn about small town politics in Lima Ohio. I was able to conduct research and gather data that was to be used by both the caucus and the Ohio Democratic Party.
- I believe that my confidence has improved significantly over the course of my internship. I would say that I have always been nervous about going into politics as an introvert. I had believed that it would be hard for me to understand the needs of constituents only because I felt as though I did not have adequate conversation skills. But after speaking with other interns, constituents, and representatives, I feel that I have the knowledge needed to help minorities across Ohio, and now know that I am able to make connections with the people I want to help most. Not only am I confident in this manner, but I also feel better prepared for graduate school and have a better idea of what to expect on my future career path.
- During my STEP project, I developed friendships with other young black leaders. Since I had been insecure about my social abilities, it was nice to hang out at the movies and go out to eat with people that I really enjoyed being around and shared common interests with. We often discussed ways to better serve the black community, various controversial legislation in Ohio, movies, music, and office dynamics. It made me feel as though my interests weren’t as isolating as I had previously thought and made me realize that perhaps I just wasn’t in right environments previously.
Another experience that made my internship all the more real for me was when I had the opportunity to travel with other interns to Lima Ohio to start an OLBC branch in that area. The local politicians there explained to us how members of the mayoral and other elected offices had been and still are in power, and describes how they used immoral means to maintain that power. During that conversation, we had also discussed how members of the black community, especially in rural and small town Ohio are usually out of touch with local politics, making it hard to enact change. Because of this, the African American elected officials made significant efforts to go door to door to reach out to their constituents during elections. This reminded me of the fact that the needs of African Americans cannot be homogenized, and that everyone is facing a different battle. Politics is difficult but can be made easier if you attempt to understand each unique problem.
Lastly, the opportunity to attend the OLBC Gala, as well as the opportunity to research projects and legislation that OLBC members have sponsored throughout the year truly inspired me to work as hard as the members I look up to. Although the OLBC women continuously pass legislation designed to help women, Ohio workers, and children, they are subjected to discrimination in the workplace.
- I believe that this change in me is valuable for several reasons. A boost of confidence in my personal character will help me across all aspects of my life, including work, social, and political affairs. How I carry myself now will allow people to see me as a confident, inviting person, which better reflects how I feel on the inside. The new knowledge that I’ve developed about the political realm I plan to use throughout the rest of my career.